ALL ABOUT YOU! The Life and Times of Senior Women in Indirect Tax…

I am delighted to present the eighth in a series of profiles of senior women in Indirect Tax. The aim is to showcase the talents, experience and stories of these amazing women, and provide some insight into their professional and personal lives, what inspires them and what wisdom they can share. My eighth interviewee is Abi Briggs, Indirect Tax Partner at Deloitte. 

Abi Briggs

Abi is a Partner based in London leading the UK and EMEA Indirect Tax TMT team. Abi has over 20 years of experience in advising predominantly multinational businesses on the indirect tax issues around supply chain (including optimisation), new product launches and entering new geographical territories. Abi’s industry focus is businesses within the technology, media and telecommunication sector.

Abi Briggs

  1. What gets you up in the morning?
    My alarm!  But seriously, I like what I do and therefore although no one relishes jumping out of bed and I’d always like another hour to sleep, I never dread going in.  Always said that the day this happens is the day I need to have a rethink.
  2. Can you describe your current role to me in 1 sentence?
    Indirect Tax Partner leading the national TMT team in the UK.
  3. What led you to your current position?
    Hard work and a willingness to step outside my comfort zone and try/do different things along the way.  
  4. How did you get into Indirect Tax in the first place?
    I never set out to do Tax, although I always wanted to do something in Finance.  I originally applied for a pensions role elsewhere, but was asked to submit a graduate application form.  This came through with a brochure on all the graduate roles which I duly read and realised Indirect Tax sounded so much more interesting than pensions.  
  5. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the Indirect Tax industry right now?
    Risk management – my clients are global with a fast pace of change.  There is a clear and determined focus on being compliant but with constant business change and rapidly evolving tax rules, managing the risk of non-compliance is key.
  6. What advice would you give to young professionals – especially women – starting out on their Indirect Tax careers?
    Do something you enjoy.  You have to enjoy Indirect Tax and the ambiguity we have to deal with daily.  As such, if you like things to be black and white, this is perhaps not the career for you.  Also, make sure the industry focus you have is one you’re interested in – you’re far more likely to read around the topic if you do this and therefore know your sector.
    Be genuine and authentic – people buy from people and it’s a long career to pretend being someone you’re not.
    Find mentor(s) that you like and admire – these don’t have to be female, but they should hopefully reflect the principles you want to live/work by.
    Have principles and do the right thing.
  7. What barriers have you had to overcome during your career to date?
    I’m not sure whether they’re barriers or simply harder times.  This comes back to putting yourself outside your comfort zone which makes things a little uncomfortable at times.  I’m not sure there are barriers as such – and mine are often in my head like the imposter syndrome.    
  8. Have there been times when you considered changing career tack?
    Not really – fleetingly thought about moving to industry and away from practice, but as I was happy in practice it seemed odd to move away.  
  9. What has been your ‘career-defining’ moment?
    Promotions throughout my career rather than one single moment.  Each time someone (or more than one person) has backed me and encouraged me.  No career is easy and therefore you need people you can trust who you know believe in you and push you forward.  
  10. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
    A hairdresser
  11. What are your honest thoughts on social media?
    This depends on from what perspective – as a mum I worry about my kids growing up feeling they need to look perfect all the time.  As a user, I’m fine with it – I think there is a lot of good that can come from social media when it is used properly and effectively.
  12. If you won a big award, who would you thank?
    My husband first, and then assuming it’s a work related award, all those people who have had my back along the way.
  13. What’s the best thing anyone has ever done for you?
    No grand gestures – simply listened when I’ve needed them.
  14. What’s the one word you’d want people to describe you with?
    Honest
  15. Books or kindle?
    Kindle
  16. What is your best time saving tip?
    Not sure I have any – I’m just ruthlessly efficient in how I use time so that even when commuting I’m doing either work or life’s admin. This isn’t great though – I miss time to read, listen to music etc.   
  17. What has been the best part of your day today?
    Taking the kids to school – it matters to me and I love the chats on the way to school.
  18. Favorite holiday destination?
    Zambia, Dorset/Devon coastline, New York – too many to choose.

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